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Publication numberUS5774365 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/637,129
Publication dateJun 30, 1998
Filing dateApr 24, 1996
Priority dateApr 24, 1996
Fee statusLapsed
Publication number08637129, 637129, US 5774365 A, US 5774365A, US-A-5774365, US5774365 A, US5774365A
InventorsPhilip G. LaDue, Lance E. Kelley, John H. King, William V. Harrison
Original AssigneeThe Standard Register Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Document dispenser operator security
US 5774365 A
Abstract
A document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation wherein dispenser operation in the operator mode is permitted when a valid operator passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, and wherein operation in the executive mode is permitted when the presence of a valid transportable security key is detected by a security key receiver.
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Claims(16)
What is claimed is:
1. A document dispenser comprising:
a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of the document dispenser;
a document printer in communication with said dispenser controller;
a document data input device in communication with said dispenser controller;
a passcode entry device in communication with said dispenser controller;
at least one security key receiver in communication with said dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a valid physically transportable security key;
a security controller in communication with said dispenser controller, arranged to control electronic access to a first security level by permitting dispenser operation in said first security level when a valid passcode is entered at said passcode entry device, and arranged to control electronic access to a second security level by permitting dispenser operation in said second security level when said valid physically transportable security key is detected by said security key receiver.
2. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said document data input device comprises a dispenser keyboard.
3. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said document data input device comprises a data input port.
4. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said passcode entry device comprises a keyboard.
5. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said passcode entry device comprises a keypad.
6. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said passcode entry device comprises a decoder arranged to receive said valid passcode.
7. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said physically transportable security key comprises a mechanical key and said at least one security key receiver comprises a lock arrangement defining a key slot or key hole.
8. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said at least one security key receiver comprises a first security key receiver and a second security key receiver, and wherein said first security key receiver is coupled to an access panel opening and closing mechanism of said printer.
9. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 1, wherein said at least one security key receiver is coupled to an access panel opening and closing mechanism of said printer.
10. A document dispenser comprising:
a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of the document dispenser;
a document printer in communication with said dispenser controller;
a document data input device in communication with said dispenser controller;
a passcode entry device in communication with said dispenser controller;
a first security key receiver in communication with said dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a first physically transportable security key;
a second security key receiver in communication with said dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a second physically transportable security key;
a security controller in communication with said dispenser controller, arranged to control electronic access to a first security level by permitting dispenser operation in said first security level when said first physically transportable security key is detected by said security key receiver, arranged to control electronic access to a second security level by permitting dispenser operation in said second security level when said second physically transportable security key is detected by said security key receiver, and arranged to permit dispenser operation in a third security level when a valid passcode is entered at said passcode entry device.
11. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 10, wherein said first security key receiver is coupled to an access panel opening and closing mechanism of said printer.
12. A method of dispensing documents comprising the steps of:
providing a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of a document printer and a document data input device;
controlling electronic access to a first security level by permitting dispenser operation in said first security level when a valid passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, and controlling electronic access to a second security level by permitting dispenser operation in said second security level when a valid physically transportable security key is detected by a security key receiver.
13. A document dispenser comprising:
means for controlling the operation of a document printer and a document data input device;
means for controlling electronic access to a first security level by permitting operation of said document printer and said document data input device in said first security level when a valid passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, and controlling electronic access to a second security level by permitting operation of said document printer and said document data input device in said second security level when a first valid physically transportable security key is detected by a first security key receiver.
14. A document dispenser as claimed in claim 13 further comprising means for controlling electronic access to a third security level by permitting operation of said document printer and said document data input device in said third security level when a second valid physically transportable security key is detected by a second security key receiver.
15. A document dispenser comprising:
a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of the document dispenser;
a document printer in communication with said dispenser controller;
a document data input device in communication with said dispenser controller;
a passcode entry device in communication with said dispenser controller;
at least one security key receiver in communication with said dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a valid transportable security key, wherein said transportable security key comprises a magnetically, electrically, optically, or mechanically encoded object and said at least one security key receiver comprises an object reader or scanner;
a security controller in communication with said dispenser controller, arranged to permit dispenser operation in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at said passcode entry device, and arranged to permit dispenser operation in a second security level when said valid transportable security key is detected by said security key receiver.
16. A document dispenser comprising:
a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of the document dispenser;
a document printer in communication with said dispenser controller;
a document data input device in communication with said dispenser controller;
a passcode entry device in communication with said dispenser controller;
at least one security key receiver in communication with said dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a valid transportable security key, wherein said transportable security key comprises a visible or invisible electromagnetic radiation source and said at least one security key receiver comprises a radiation detector;
a security controller in communication with said dispenser controller, arranged to permit dispenser operation in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at said passcode entry device, and arranged to permit dispenser operation in a second security level when said valid transportable security key is detected by said security key receiver.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to document dispensers incorporating multiple levels of operation, access to which is controlled in accordance with predetermined security limits.

In prior art document dispensing systems, certain modes of operation may be accessed only upon entry of predetermined security codes on a system keyboard. For example, an operator mode and an executive mode may be established and entry of predetermined passcodes may be required for operation in each mode. The operator mode, accessible only upon entry of an operator passcode, may be utilized to designate specific information to be printed on the documents and to dispense the documents. The executive mode, accessible only upon entry of an executive passcode, may be used to specify how the dispenser will operate, e.g., setting passwords, clearing system memory, selecting output types for document formats, printing document samples, setting various dispensing maximums, etc.

With such a prior art dispensing system, when an executive passcode is communicated to a dispenser operator, that operator may enter the executive mode whenever he chooses and is therefore effectively granted executive authority until the executive passcode is changed. Similarly, once the executive passcode is communicated to more than one or two individuals, it is often difficult to monitor who has knowledge of an executive passcode because the passcode can be easily communicated to non-executive personnel. Thus, with document dispensers utilizing executive passcodes entered on a keypad, it is not convenient to grant temporary access to an executive mode because to do so would compromise dispenser security, and require frequent changing of the executive passcode.

Document dispensers are commonly utilized to issue financial documents, e.g., cashier's checks, money orders, personal checks, business checks, gift certificates, etc. As a consequence, it is possible that an emergency situation could arise where an executive operator of a financial document dispenser is coerced to enter the executive mode and alter or disable certain dispenser security features. If an executive passcode must be entered on the dispenser keypad, the executive may be unable to remember the passcode because of the coercive context of the demand. An inability to remember a passcode in this situation is likely to have undesirable results. Similarly, because an executive passcode is often merely retained in the memory of an executive, it is possible to forget the passcode and be inhibited from future entry into the executive mode.

Accordingly, there is a need for a document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation wherein executive authority can be temporarily granted to non-executive personnel and conveniently revoked. Further, there is a need for a document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation wherein executive authority can be effectively regulated and monitored. Finally, there is a need for a document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation wherein entry to an executive mode of operation is not dependent upon the numerical memory capabilities of a particular executive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These needs are met by providing a document dispenser wherein dispenser operation in the operator mode is permitted when a valid operator passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, and wherein operation in the executive mode is permitted when a valid transportable security key is detected by a security key receiver.

In accordance with one embodiment the present invention, a document dispenser is provided comprising: a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of the document dispenser; a document printer, a document data input device, and a passcode entry device in communication with the dispenser controller; a security key receiver in communication with the dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a valid transportable security key; and, a security controller in communication with the dispenser controller, arranged to permit dispenser operation in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at the passcode entry device, and arranged to permit dispenser operation in a second security level when a valid transportable security key is detected by the security key receiver.

The document data input device may comprise a dispenser keyboard or a data input port. The passcode entry device may comprise a keyboard, a keypad, or a decoder arranged to receive the valid passcode.

The transportable security key may comprise a mechanical key, and the security key receiver may comprise a lock arrangement defining a key slot or key hole. Alternatively, the transportable security key may comprise a magnetically, electrically, optically, or mechanically encoded object and the security key receiver comprises an object reader or scanner. Additionally, the transportable security key may comprise an electromagnetic radiation source in either the visible or invisible portion of the spectrum, and the security key receiver may comprise a radiation detector. The at least one security key receiver may comprise a first security key receiver and a second security key receiver, and the first security key receiver may be coupled to an access panel opening and closing mechanism of said printer.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a document dispenser is provided comprising a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of the document dispenser, a document printer in communication with the dispenser controller, a document data input device in communication with the dispenser controller, a passcode entry device in communication with the dispenser controller, a first security key receiver in communication with the dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a first transportable security key, a second security key receiver in communication with the dispenser controller and arranged to detect the presence of a second transportable security key, a security controller in communication with the dispenser controller, arranged to permit dispenser operation in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at the passcode entry device, arranged to permit dispenser operation in a second security level when a first transportable security key is detected by the security key receiver, and arranged to permit dispenser operation in a third security level when a second transportable security key is detected by the security key receiver. The first security key receiver may be coupled to an access panel opening and closing mechanism of said printer.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, a method of dispensing documents comprises the steps of providing a dispenser controller programmed to control the operation of a document printer and a document data input device, permitting dispenser operation in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, and permitting dispenser operation in a second security level when a valid transportable security key is detected by a security key receiver.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, a document dispenser is provided comprising: means for controlling the operation of a document printer and a document data input device; means for permitting operation of the document printer and the document data input device in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, and permitting operation of the document printer and the document data input device in a second security level when a first valid transportable security key is detected by a first security key receiver. The document dispenser may further comprise means for permitting operation of the document printer and the document data input device in a third security level when a second valid transportable security key is detected by a second security key receiver.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation wherein executive authority can be temporarily granted by transferring possession of a transportable security key to non-executive personnel and conveniently revoked by repossessing the transportable security key. Further, a document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation is provided wherein entry to an executive mode of operation is dependent on possession of a valid tangible transportable security key, and not dependent upon the numerical memory capabilities of a particular executive. Finally, a document dispenser incorporating multiple security levels of operation is provided wherein executive authority can be effectively regulated and monitored by monitoring the possession of a specific transportable security key or a limited number of transportable security keys.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating the components of a document dispenser in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an illustration of document dispenser in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method of dispensing documents according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates the electronic components of the document dispenser 10. The overall operation of the dispenser 10 is controlled by a dispenser controller 12. The dispenser controller 12 typically includes a central processing unit, a digital program data storage device for providing storage of various operating and applications programs, and a digital data storage device for providing storage of data processed by the controller 12. Data, address, and control buses, represented generally by the bus 14 are provided to facilitate communication between various components of the dispenser 10, as described below. It is contemplated by the present invention that the program storage device and the data storage device may comprise a single digital data storage device.

A document printer 16, a document data input device 18, a passcode entry device 20, a security key receiver 22, and a security controller 24 are connected to the dispenser controller 12 and are controlled thereby according to the various operating and applications programs resident therein. The document printer 16 is preferably integrally formed within the body of the dispenser 10. However, it is contemplated by the present invention that the document dispenser may be designed to have the capability of printing to a peripheral printer.

The document data input device 18 typically comprises a data communications port, a keypad, or a keyboard. A dispenser operator enters control data at the document data input device 18 in order to operate the dispenser 10 according to the operations programs resident therein. Additionally, the dispenser operator selects a set of document variable values according to the requirements of a particular document to be dispensed and enters the selected values at the data input device 18. For example, in the event the document dispenser is utilized primarily to dispense money orders, the operator will typically select a money order amount, a payor name, a payee name, a document date, etc. The selected values are then entered at the document data input device 18.

Entry into a first security level, or security mode, is dependent upon whether a valid passcode is entered at the passcode entry device 20 (see FIG. 3, steps 100 and 102). The passcode entry device 20 comprises a mechanical or electronic component, e.g. an electronic keypad, at which a predetermined security passcode is entered so as to complete a security level entry sequence by initiating a passcode verification sequence according to the operations programs resident in the dispenser controller 12. It is contemplated by the present invention that the passcode entry device 20 may comprise a keyboard, a keypad, any decoder capable of receiving and decoding a security passcode, including an audio signal decoder, or a set of mechanical switches capable of being arranged to correspond to a security passcode. As noted above, the first security level preferably corresponds to an operator mode, accessible only upon entry of an operator passcode, and utilized to designate specific information to be printed on the documents and to dispense the documents.

Entry into a second security level is dependent upon whether a valid security key is received at the security key receiver 22 (see FIG. 3, steps 104 and 106). The security key receiver 22 detects the presence of a valid transportable security key. The transportable security key comprises a mechanical key and the security key receiver 22 comprises a lock arrangement defining a key slot or key hole. Alternatively, the transportable security key may comprise a magnetically, electrically, optically, or mechanically encoded object and the security key receiver 22 may comprise an object reader or scanner. Finally, the transportable security key may comprise a visible or invisible electromagnetic radiation source and the security key receiver 22 may comprise a radiation detector. It is contemplated by the present invention that a plurality of security key receivers and corresponding transportable security keys may be provided to control access to more than one security level. The second security level, or the plurality of key accessible security levels, preferably correspond to executive mode functions and, for example, may be used to specify how the dispenser will operate, e.g., setting passwords, clearing system memory, selecting output types for document formats, printing document samples, setting various dispensing maximums, etc.

FIG. 2 shows a dispenser 10 including a printer 16 and a dispenser controller unit 26. The printer 16 includes a printer access panel 17 which is opened and closed to access the printer paper supply. It is contemplated by the present invention that the printer 16 may also be designed such that the printer door panel 17 may be opened and closed to access other printer mechanisms or compartments, e.g., printer controls, the printing mechanism, etc. The dispenser controller unit 26 incorporates the dispenser controller 12, the security controller 24, and a dispenser key pad 13 which functions as the document data input device 18 and the passcode entry device 20.

A first security receiver lock 22a is coupled to an access panel opening and closing mechanism of the printer 16 such that the lock has a dual function of initiating access to the low level security mode and permitting access to the printer paper supply compartment. A second security receiver lock 22b is present on the rear of the controller unit 26, as are a serial data input port 28 and a parallel data input port 30. It is contemplated by the present invention that the first security receiver lock 22a may alternatively be provided on the rear of the controller unit 26.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, a dispenser operator mode is accessed by entering a valid first security passcode on the key pad 13, a low level executive mode is accessed by inserting a valid mechanical key in the first security receiver lock 22a, and a high level executive mode is accessed by inserting a valid mechanical key in the second security receiver lock 22b.

The security controller 24 is arranged to permit dispenser operation in a first security level when a valid passcode is entered at the passcode entry device 20, and to permit dispenser operation in a second security level when a valid transportable security key is detected by the security key receiver 22. The security controller 24 includes a memory device for storing a security level entry codes corresponding to the first security level and sends an operation signal output to the dispenser controller 12 indicative of whether operation in a particular security level is to be permitted or inhibited according to whether a valid security level entry code has been input at the passcode entry device 20. Specifically, the security controller 24 compares the operator passcode entered at the passcode entry device 20 to a value stored in memory. If the operator passcode is valid, operation in the first security mode is permitted by the security controller 24. Similarly, the security controller 24 monitors whether a valid transportable security key has been received at the security key receiver 22 and permits entry into the second security mode when the valid key is detected by sending an operation signal output to the dispenser controller 12. It is contemplated by the present invention that the first security level entry code may be stored in the security controller 24 or in another location accessible to the security controller 24, e.g., in the memory of the dispenser controller 12.

It is contemplated by the present invention that a variety of source codes may be utilized to enable operation of a document dispenser according to the present invention. It is also contemplated by the present invention that a personal computer coupled to a printer could be modified to form the components of the document dispenser described above. Listed in attached appendix A is an example of source code which enables dispenser operation in the operator mode when a valid operator passcode is entered at a passcode entry device, operation in a low level executive mode when the presence of a first valid transportable security key is detected by a security key receiver, and operation in a high level executive mode when the presence of a second valid transportable security key is detected by a second security key receiver.

Having described the invention in detail and by reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be apparent that modifications and variations are possible without departing from the scope of the invention defined in the appended claims. ##SPC1##

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6539282May 8, 2001Mar 25, 2003The Detsky Group, L.P.Vending machine for vending age-restricted products using a credit card and associated methods
US6792334Apr 17, 2001Sep 14, 2004Chesterfield Holdings, LlcVending machine for vending age-restricted products using an authorization card and associated methods
US6854642Oct 19, 2001Feb 15, 2005Chesterfield Holdings, L.L.C.System for vending products and services using an identification card and associated methods
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Classifications
U.S. Classification700/237, 235/375, 235/382, 340/5.54
International ClassificationG07F19/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F19/202, G07F19/20
European ClassificationG07F19/20, G07F19/202
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 1, 2010ASAssignment
Effective date: 20100331
Free format text: NOTICE OF GRANT OF SECURITY INTEREST IN PATENTS;ASSIGNOR:THE STANDARD REGISTER COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:24170/252
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.,GEORGIA
Free format text: NOTICE OF GRANT OF SECURITY INTEREST IN PATENTS;ASSIGNOR:THE STANDARD REGISTER COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:024170/0252
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., GEORGIA
Aug 29, 2006FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20060630
Jun 30, 2006LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Jan 18, 2006REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Jan 22, 2002REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Dec 27, 2001FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Feb 24, 1997ASAssignment
Owner name: STANDARD REGISTER COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LADUE, PHILIP G.;KELLEY, LANCE E.;KING, JOHN H.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:008370/0459
Effective date: 19970212